New municipal veterans court designed to help veterans with citations, warrants

By Tulsi Kamath - Digital Content Producer
KPRC

Judge Elaine Marshall announces a new municipal veterans court in Houston on Oct. 9, 2019.

HOUSTON - Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the opening of a new municipal court geared specifically for veterans on Wednesday. 

"Houston is home to an estimated 282,000 veterans and it's critical that we provide them with additional resources and assistance with handling a city of Houston citation and/or warrant," Turner said in a press conference. 

The new court will launch on Oct. 15 and will meet once a month with Judge Elaine Marshall presiding. 

"If you're a veteran and you get stuck, you don't know where to turn, this facility, this court is for you because we can connect you back into the VA facility, we can connect you with Combined Arms, we can connect you with prosecutors with lawyers to help veterans get back on their feet and get back into the real world," Marshall said at the press conference. 

How it works

  • If you're a veteran or in active-duty service and are dealing with a city citation or warrant, you can go to any of the six municipal courts and tell the judge you're a veteran and show identification proof of your status. 
  • The judge will then reschedule the case for veterans court. 
  • Marshall says attend veterans court to receive help with citations and warrants. 

It's important to note this court will only be for municipal citations and warrants. It will not see cases about drug violations or other criminal charges. 

"In this court program, we're going to try and capture veterans even before their criminal issues get to the point of misdemeanor or even felony charges in the hopes that we can connect veterans with the critical resources at the VA that might be addressing those sensitive mental health issues, social issues and financial issues that might be impacting their intersection at the municipal level," said Laurie Coonan with Veterans Affairs. 

"We know that some veterans may have PTSD or other fears or concerns about coming into court but this will be a welcoming environment that will make the process more efficient for everyone," Turner said. 

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